Gov­ern­ment ac­cused of ‘bully boy’ tac­tics over pro­posed bud­get cuts

The Herald - - POLITICS -

THE Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment has been ac­cused of “bully boy” tac­tics in press­ing coun­cils to ac­cept bud­get set­tle­ments.

Sev­eral coun­cils plan to ig­nore the Jan­uary 20 dead­line for in­di­vid­ual bud­get set­tle­ments from the Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment be­fore the draft bud­get is passed by Par­lia­ment.

Fi­nance Sec­re­tary Derek Mackay told the lo­cal au­thor­i­ties they would re­ceive a “re­vised and in­evitably less favourable of­fer” if they failed to sign up on time.

North Ayr­shire, In­ver­clyde, North and South La­nark­shire, Clack­man­nan­shire and Ren­frew­shire plan to ig­nore the dead­lines while Fife has asked for more in­for­ma­tion.

North Ayr­shire Coun­cil leader Joe Cul­li­nane told Mr Mackay: “I have care­fully lis­tened to the ‘spin’ be­ing ap­plied to the nar­ra­tive around your draft bud­get and it is, quite frankly, smoke and mir­rors.

“Your ‘of­fer’ in­volves lo­cal gov­ern­ment re­ceiv­ing a re­al­terms rev­enue cut of £327 mil­lion de­spite your own bud­get in­creas­ing.

“That cut means a re­duc­tion of ap­prox­i­mately £9.2m for North Ayr­shire Coun­cil.”

Clack­man­nan­shire Coun­cil leader Bobby McGill said the lo­cal gov­ern­ment set­tle­ment would bring “great hard­ship to those who re­quire our ser­vices”.

Scot­tish Con­ser­va­tive lo­cal gov­ern­ment spokesman Gra­ham Simp­son said: “The SNP is us­ing bully boy tac­tics to force coun­cils to ac­cept this set­tle­ment.

“But the bud­get hasn’t even been ap­proved by the Scot­tish Par­lia­ment yet, with no in­di­ca­tion that it is close to be­ing signed off.”

Scot­tish Labour deputy leader Alex Row­ley said: “Derek Mackay will have to amend his bud­get to get it through Par­lia­ment and it is there­fore un­be­liev­ably ar­ro­gant of the SNP to try and force £327m of cuts onto coun­cils when his own bud­get has not been fi­nalised.”

A Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment spokesman said lo­cal gov­ern­ment had been treated “very fairly de­spite the cuts to the Scot­tish bud­get from the UK Gov­ern­ment”.

He said “no lo­cal au­thor­ity has re­jected our plans”.

DEREK MACKAY: Warn­ing of a less fvaourable of­fer.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.